Home » The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms: Beginner’s Guide

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms: Beginner’s Guide

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Blancpain is the oldest premium watch manufacturer in the world, established in Villeret, Switzerland, in 1735. This 287-year-old company has always produced horological complexities and is currently based in Le Brassus in the Swiss Vallée de Joux. Although in the (somewhat) recent year of 1953, its most recognizable watch was created as a tool piece for military diving.

Nevertheless, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is not simply a tool watch—almost everyone considers it the first contemporary divers’ clock, setting the standard for all subsequent models. Regardless of the fact that the watch nearly didn’t survive the 1970s, it now serves as the base for a sizable and diversified line of the Blancpain range.


Photo: Monochrome


For some, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms would not be the first choice if you were seeking to purchase a vintage timepiece. But for others, it’s one of the all-time most intriguing, perplexing, and collectible diving watches. So if you are a watch collector just getting started, then you should consider the following Blancpain watches:

Vintage Inspired Variants:

These timepieces tend to resemble the classic Fifty Fathoms from the 1950s.


Photo: Monochrome


Blancpain does this by utilizing lovely, convex bezel inlays made of sapphire and/or ceramic, conventionally formed lugs, and dial inscriptions that evoke earlier eras.

Some of these vintage-inspired models to add to your collection include:

  • Barakuda

This wristwatch, which is limited to 500 copies, exudes retro style. The dome ceramic bezel’s aged lume matches the dial’s old lume nicely, while the red accents serve as a reminder that this is a sporting piece.


Photo: Monochrome


  • Fifty Fathoms Automatique 40MM

The timepieces in this series are possibly the epitome of FF’s vintage-inspired style. Several hues and different strap options, such as the Ocean Commitment edition, symbolize Blancpain’s support for ocean preservation.


Photo: Monochrome


The red dot is a throwback to the classic FF, which included a leak gauge, which has since become a company’s defining characteristic.

  • Fifty Fathoms Grand Date

Take this 45mm variant, add a huge date window at six o’clock, and you have a dress watch-like complication on a diving watch. Even though it’s an uncommon pairing, there is something alluring about this homage to fine Horlogerie in the setting of a sizable diving piece.


Photo: Monochrome


  • 500 Fathoms & 500 Fathoms GMT

500 Fathoms & 500 Fathoms GMT timepieces have a retro appearance, true, but they also have futuristic features.


Photo: Gear Patrol


These special editions are particularly unique since they have up to 100M waterproofing, a huge casing, a “decompression” or helium escaping valve, a titanium casing, and a wound rotor shaped like a ship’s propeller.

  • Tourbillon 8 Jours

Tourbillions in diving timepieces are uncommon, and they are even rare when they have an 8-day power reserve. The balancing wheel revolves inside a cage at a predetermined speed during a tourbillion movement.


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Moreover, among the most remarkable movements to observe in motion is one that uses an ancient (and somewhat sophisticated) method to counteract gravity’s impact on a movement. Indeed, this wristwatch is among Blancpain’s finest since it features one of the trickier intricacies.

  • The X Fathoms

This is one of those timepieces that might awe you with human creativity. Its size is justified because it incorporates a mechanical depth gauge that outperforms the majority of SCUBA depth gauges and has two depth scales, a maximum depth indicator, and a restart button.


Photo: Blancpain


In addition, it contains a helium escaping valve and a 5-minute timer, which are both impressive watchmaking feats. With a width of 55.65mm and a thickness of 24mm, it will wear like a contemporary diver computer.

The Contemporary Fifty Fathoms:

The outstanding, in-house designed Fifty-Fathoms are equipped to function well inside and near the water. These contemporary versions are simply created using a modern look. As a result, they have a subtle elegance and, because of how wonderfully they are polished, a little bit of panache. Nevertheless, the syringe hands and dot markings offer some lovely classic Blancpain flair.


Photo: Hodinkee


Examples of the modern Fifty-Fathoms watches to add to your list of purchases include:

  • Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe

This simple diving watch, which has a date display at 4:30, will work well with a suit or a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.


Photo: Watches Of Switzerland


One of Blancpain’s trademark movements included in this piece is the 1315 in-house movement. Additionally, with just a small size variation, there are casings made of ceramic, steel, and gold.

  • Fifty Fathoms Quantième Complet Phase de Lune

This wristwatch is a fantastic fusion of Haute horological sophistication with diving sturdiness in stylish packaging.


Photo: Time & Tide


The lunar cycles will be visible in the blue window, whereas the whole calendar will show the day of the week, the month, and the date in a magnificent pointing arrangement.

  • Bathyscaphe 38MM

Despite Blancpain’s claims that these are female’s timepieces, 38mm can look sophisticated on any gentleman and, for people with small wrists, could be the ideal size. In short, these are just wonderful timepieces in a flexible and trendy size.


Photo: Blancpain


Additionally, Blancpain places the white dial and bezel inlay on candy-tinted bands (likely for ladies). But if you put that on a chunky brown suede, a slick alligator, or a camouflage NATO band, it will truly pop with a cool, manly look.

  • Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback

The Chronographe Flyback might be among the most alluring products in the Fifty Fathoms collection thanks to its remarkable intricacy, modern yet timeless shape, and diver-appropriate dimensions.


Photo: Monochrome


You can obtain it in a grayish ceramic for a more contemporary feel or purchase the Ocean Commitment edition in the exceptionally cool polished blue ceramic to aid ocean cleanup. On the other hand, steel variants provide a more conventional appearance and feel.

  • Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantième Annuel

The Bathyscaphe becomes more complicated when a yearly calendar is added, but it still maintains the Fifty-Fathoms’ tradition of tough diving watches. Although a few brands are venturing into this market, Blancpain accomplishes this with style.

Photo: Deployant


Bottom Line 

The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms line captures the brand’s love of the underwater realm, which was first demonstrated in 1953 with the introduction of the inaugural contemporary diver’s wristwatch.

The most recent adds to the collection are both a celebration of the innovators who rendered scuba diving feasible and outstanding technical accomplishments. Their zeal and commitment led to the discovery of entirely new areas for underwater exploration. Besides, they continue to compel Blancpain to use cutting-edge materials and technological advancements to push the boundaries of its watches and satisfy the most demanding requirements.

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